#20 NEW CATHEDRAL, CATHEDRAL OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION Beningno Malo and Sucre. Built 1885-1968
Designed by the German Redemptorist monk Brother Juan Buatista Stiehle, who worked on it from 1885 until his death in 1899. The Bishop Miguel Leon wanted to build a cathedral “as large as the faith” of the people of Cuenca. When the Cathedral was first constructed 9,000 out of Cuenca’s 10,000 inhabitants could fit in the building. The cathedral took almost 100 years to build.
The cathedral has an overall eclecticism, as it displays a harmonious blend of styles including Romanesque, Gothic, and Renaissance styles. The floor is made of Carrara marble. The stained glass windows are of various sources, from Germany, and Belgium. And additionally some were made in Cuenca by the Spanish artist Guillermo Larrazabal.
A statue of Pope John Paul ll is in the cathedral. Pope John Paul ll, visited the cathedral in 1985.
In the Crypt are buried some of the illustrious figures of the city of Cuenca such as: Remigio Crespo Toral, Gral. Antonio Vega, Fray Vicente Solano; as well as the bishops of the city: Miguel León, Manuel María Política, Daniel Hermida, Monsignor Manuel Serrano Abad; and the builder of the cathedral: Luis Antonio Chicaiza.
The doors of the Cathedral are often a backdrop for photos
Above the rose window, on the roof, is a statue of Saint Anne, patron saint of the city, with the Virgin Mary as child. The famous three giant domes are covered by striking blue and white glazed tile from Czechoslovakia.
Spiral staircase to the roof – 154 steps.
A model for the Cathedral. The towers of the front facade were designed to have an extra stage, as can be seen in the photo of the model here. However the planned towers were truncated due to a calculation error of the architect. If they had been raised to their planned height, the foundation would not have been able to bear the weight.
1954 – On November 13, 1954, the first public act took place inside the cathedral that was not finished yet; the episcopal consecration of Manuel Serrano Abad was celebrated. In the same year, the interior part would be completed with the placement of Italian marble on the floor.